By Mark Shields
This day as we read Mark 2:13-17, Jesus went out beside the lake to teach and a large crowd followed. Let us follow the example of Jesus by being patient and kind; keeping others in mind so that we have an impact on them.
In today’s passage, a tax collector named Levi was sitting at his tax collector’s booth and as Jesus saw him, He ask Levi to follow. Jesus must have had a large effect on Levi since he immediately obeyed Jesus and even invited Jesus over for dinner. Many other tax collectors and sinners came over to eat with them. The teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors so they protested who Jesus associated with.
Tax collectors were considered to be in collaboration with the hated pagan Roman government. They were detested during that time because of their dishonesty and how they put pressure on the people to pay unreasonable taxes or be put in jail. In response to the Pharisees, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”.
This calm response of simply stating His purpose was consistent with what Jesus had been doing up to this point. He had been teaching about forgiveness of sins, helping people to become spiritually healthy, and asking for them to follow His Way.
This day with You Lord, we want to be free to be who You made us to be. To live our best life now, help us to love others like You first loved us. Not all people are pleasant and some may stab us in the back but Your Good News is for all as we have learned in today’s passage. The way You lived on earth Lord is our perfect example to follow. Help us to be Your friend and then be a friend to others. Let Your Good News flow out to others because of our peace, our encouragement, and with a faith in Your power to make amazing things happen. Amen.